Friday, May 30, 2008

Self-Diagnosed Knitting Malaise

Malaise - Not Maynoise. According to Wickipedia:

Malaise is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an "out of sorts" feeling, often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Often defined in medicinal research as a "general feeling of being unwell". This usage may have originated in folk medicine, but it is adopted from the French word meaning "discomfort," "feeling faint," "feeling sick."

While I feel fine physically, the general discomfort, discontent and uneasiness described in the definition fits. This feeling has been with me for a several weeks now. Not depression - just un-eas-i-ness. Like something big is about to drop out of the sky. Don't know quite why. But . . . anyway, enough already about my general mental quirks.

The malaise feeling has spread, or is perhaps exemplified by my knitting life. I have that annoying feeling that I have way TOOOOOOO many projects on the needles, UFO'd or whatever.

On the Needles - As far as actually on the needles, let's see, I am currently working on Talia - only I'm kinda not really knitting this week, just thinking about it. My knitting moments have come few and far between, and when they have appeared, I haven't had the Talia vest along with me to knit. It's getting at that big, bulky, AWKWARD stage to carry around. So I have to knit it at home, but I haven't been knitting at home in the evening as I usually do. Instead, I've been downloading podcasts at night and watching old episodes of The Office.

I have a bunch of unfinished things that are niggling at me from the recesses of my yarn closet. Like, there's Wrap Me Up - that one really calls to me right now. I started it last August on the way to Stitches and I really find myself wanting to work on it again and finally finish it. But dang it, that thing is even bigger than Talia and isn't a good take-along project.

Then there's crochet that has been calling to me again as well. I've been wanting to go back and work on my Larger Than Life crochet bag, which I've only completed one square of. Remember that one? It would be a fun carry-along project. The yarn is Berroco Comfort, which is a fabulously soft acylic yarn. I'm making this bag in 1970's colors and if I could find a regular tote to sew these onto in order to avoid having to sew an actual bag myself, I would probably be more motivated to work on this project.

And then there's socks - I've been wanting to go back and do a pair of socks from the Morgan-Oaks 2-At-A-Time Sock book. I downright LOVE that danged book. So I may just break down and cast on a new pair from her book. But I hate starting anything new yet. If I'm gonna work on socks, I really should first do the mate for this one.

The organized (and sane) side of me says that I probably need to do that thing again where I sit donw and make a list of all my projects - the almost finished, the started but abadoned (UFOs) and the stuff I really want to make and get them in some priority.

But something in me says, "I need to have FUN - isn't knitting supposed to be a source of FUN". Speaking of fun, I'd better QUICKLY get ready for work. But I think tomorrow is going to be spent having some fun for a change. Yeah!!

Question to the Peanut Gallery: what do you knit when you are confused about what to do next? Does Ravelry make that project confusion worse, or is it just me? Yet I LOOOOOVVVVE Ravelry. And now podcasts. I think I'm getting myself more and more confused.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Now I'm "It"

My friend Phyllis tagged me with a MEME and here it is. Five questions that didn't take too long to answer.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, working as a legal secretary by day, and writing romance novels half the night in a valiant attempt at becoming a novelist. We were also getting ready to return here to the Kansas City area so that we could enter my daughter in kindergarten and have her grow up in my home town. At that time, gosh, it seems not just a decade ago, but a WORLD ago, I had a preschooler who has now miraculously morphed into a full-blown teenager. At that time, I didn't knit at all. I also weighed far less, looked much younger. Hard to believe.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? Check on my daughter's summer school plans (done); Do the treadmill for 30 minutes (done); read more on my Thinking Thin book (done); make knitting progress on Talia (not yet done); balance my checkbook (not yet done).

3. Snacks I enjoy: skim string cheese; sliced juicy green apples; pisastio nuts, coffee and good quality chocolate (not all at at the same time though).

4. Places I’ve lived: This is sadly boring and limited. I've lived in various suburbs of Kansas City all my life, except for a 4-year stint in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Where would I LIKE to live? I have dreams of someday have alternative lives in New York City, Seattle, Washington, Ancorage, Alaska, a remote artsy-fartsy liberal town in Vermont, and how about, best of all, in the Historic District of Savannah, Georgia. What do these places have in common? Absolutely nothing, but they all have attractions I've drawn to.

5. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: Create a charity that helps shape teenagers with limited funds and help them identify a career path that would satisfy them creativity and financially - and would offer a scholarship for them to go to college or vocational schooling of their choice.

People I tag: Elsybeth, Laura, Kay, Carol and Lynn (Colorjoy). Also anyone else who cares to participate and reads my blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear? Podcast Addiction

First of all, that is not my big ugly ear in the photo, I just wanted to have something visual for those of you who are geared that way. Personally, I have ALWAYS been really auditory. In college, I used to study by recording my notes on tape and playing them back - works even better than flash cards for me. I've checked out books on tape and CD from the library for quite some time now and enjoyed many extra hours of reading each week during my daily commutes.

I've resisted I-pods and M3P players for a while now, not sure quite why, but mainly I just don't like seeing people walking around in a daze with them and being "tuned out" of their real world, for the same reason I resent cell phones, video games etc. especially in public, where other people are ignored in favor of the preferred technology instrument. Plus, I usually wait a while after a new technology craze starts so I can figure out what equipment it is I really want and need.

In spite of my initial hesitation, recently, I've been wanting an MP3 player because I've listened to a few knitting podcasts online and figured it would be nice to listen to them while I work out on my treadmill, while I walk outside and do boring household chores. Plus, I have a 40 minute ride to and from work each day that is made much more fun by audio learning entertainment of all kinds.

Well, last weekend, we were at my husband's favorite electronics store and found a refurbished Scan Disk MP3 player on clearance for $24.95. I bought one for myself, and one for my Mom. I've been spending the whole week playing around with it and enjoying it.

So much fun!!! I actually spent an extra 10-15 minutes on the treadmill each day because I wanted to hear the end of that session's podcast. So far, I've explored podcasts such as Knitpicks, Stash N Burn, Lime and Violet, Socks in the City, Cast On as well as Y Knit. I am interested in any good ones that you've enjoyed (don't care if they are knitting or NON-knitting related).

And if you haven't fallen into the podcast spell yet, let me just DARE you to try one episode of Limenviolet (Episode 54) where Carin and Violet talk about Carin's dog's visit to the vet where the dog went to get her teeth cleaned, but came back with her butt shaved bare. Yeah, it's hilarious. And they talk about knitting too. The knitting talk is great, but the laughs are pricless free entertainment. You can't beat that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Week of Grief

My daughter has lost someone very dear to her.

A week of loss.

A life cut short.

A school year sadly ended.

A boy's family and friends in pain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Every Day Can Be "Hole-y"

This week, I found that my favorite pair of hand-knits socks has a hole. Bummer!!! My camera also needs batteries, so I couldn't show you a photo of the big humongeous hole at the heel - but here's an old photo when the socks were first being made last fall. It's my Raphael (Jitterbug) socks. Thank goodness, I found an excellent web tutorial here that shows how to fix it. I'll be trying it later this weekend and will let you know how that works for me.

My friend Elysbeth has been discussing her 100 days of change over on her blog, and I find that concept fascinating. She is making SMALL but significant daily changes that really make an impact on her life, and she is describing those changes and what affect they have. She's given me several ideas of changes I might want to make also.

Now, in the interest of keeping things perking along for all 5 of my readers, here two more personal beliefs/philosophies that sort of illustrate my own current life lessons and are tied closely together with the physical event that manifested this week (the holy/hole-y sock). You see, holes make us "holy" especially if we work on repairing them.

Find the holes in your own life - you first have to be aware and identify them. Chelle's theory of "holes" is that EVERYBODY has them. There's at least one area of your life, and usually SEVERAL that are majorly screwed up. It might be health, marriage, friendships, children, smoking, weight, clutter, financial, sexual . . . the list goes on and on, as you might imagine. But whatever it is, find your pain - go to ONE AREA at a time and take an unbiased look at it. The one I'm personally working on right now is weight/exercise.

Can't we just ignore the hole and pretend we didn't see it? Ah . . . yeah, that works sometimes, for a little while, but the hole keeps getting bigger and harder to fix.

A Little is a Lot. I recently watched an old movie that is really funny, called "What About Bob" starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. In this movie, a psychologist (Dreyfus) has a self-help book out called "Baby Steps" and he tries to coach hilarious patient, Bill Murray, out of a bunch of neurotic phobias by encouraging him to take small steps toward facing and overcoming his fears. The movie has a message, along with the comedy, that any small steps you take toward ANY goal will bring you closer, and makes achieving your goal feel easier and more doable. So take the small steps - doing 10 minutes of exercise is WAY better that none at all. Try to do the small stuff every day and you'll soon be making progress toward your destination. I used to keep a sign on my Nordic Track machine that said, "A little is a lot" because it is.

Try to tackle only one hole at a time - first identify it, then see what you can do to take SMALL steps in repairing those holes.

It's just like fixing a hole in your sock - see where it is, what may be causing it . . . . what material would best fix it, and then get your repair kit out and go to work on it. One . . . baby . . . . step . . . at . . . . a . . . . time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Frog Jumps in the Pond

Remember this vest? The one where I bought the huge skein of lime green yarn from Tracy Bonkers at the Knitting in the Heartland conference?

Well I might have looked all happy and content knitting it here: but let me reassure you, I've not been happy with the resulting nearly finished vest. All I have to do is make the button band, I've even sewn the shoulder seams (with Carol's help), but it still looks like crapola. It "fits" in a matter of speaking. I got gauge. But the design itself is extremely ugly on me. I won't show you a picture of me trying it on, because like most people, I generally avoid displaying totally UNFLATTERING photos of myself on the web.

But let's just say, TRUST ME, it looks like the bottom of the bargain basement day at a thrift store sale, and I've been in enough thrift store sales to recognize the true bottom of the barrel. This frog wouldn't even have leapt into my shopping basket if given away for free.

Therefore, off to the frog pond it goes. I will rip-it, rip-it very soon, if not today then whenever my ripping arm feels loosened up to rip 800 or so yards of lime green yarn.

There are times I truly get discouraged with my knitting, and it usually is associated with my attempts at fitted garments to put on my own body. I imagine my distaste has more to do with the unfit body itself rather than the garments - maybe? Not sure. But I have NOT been satisfied with the sweaters I've made for myself. Never have liked a single one.

So I'm seriously starting to think that unless and until I loose about 30-35 lbs, I might as well just forget making sweaters and even vests for myself and stick to things like socks, shawls, dishcloths, purses/bags, household items and maybe the occasional baby gift. I just may not be a sweater person, in spite of the fact that I'm now a co-moderator over on the Got Vests group at Ravelry. Ha! A maker of frogs extraordaire.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Stolen Moments

Over on Ravelry this week, someone posted a thread asking "When do you have/make time to knit?" The responses were interesting, and I have to confess that I read it partly under the delusional HOPES that someone would reveal a unique knitting opportunity that I hadn't yet discovered.

But one commenter there, GlimmerJSP, pointed out a concept that really rang a bell with me and that was her mentioning that she knits during "stolen moments." Her description of knitting during Stolen Moments is so true for me too. I don't have much knitting time either. And I knit slowly. Working full-time makes it challenging to knit during the week - and having short half an hour lunches are tough too. I find myself opting to bring a lunch from home, not only to save money, but to squeeze in every available minute after lunch to make a bit of progress on my current WIP.

And even on the busiest days, I try to steal at least 1 row in because that one row makes me feel like there's at least a shred of ME left, and time to nurture my creativity.

I knit always when waiting, at appointments etc, even in the grocery line. I bring a small project with me all the time on the go. I also have my husband drive most the time in the evenings and weekends so that I can steal in whatever time between errands etc. I go to a knitting group on Saturday afternoons whenever I possibly can make it. And I try to knit a few rows before crashing at night.

All in all, the important thing is to make time for ME every day. Even if it's only 15 minutes, one row, and if no time for that, then at least paging through a knitting magazine to appreciate some project, some technique. Ahhhh!!!

Perhaps the stolen moments with many things in life are the most precious.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Biggest Change of All - Mindset

Over the years, I've been able to make changes. I made one MAJOR life change a few years ago, in 2004, when I walked out of my last law office. After working for nearly two decades at a series of law offices, switching to a sales and customer service field made me happier. True, I don't make as much money as I used to, but I also don't feel as frantic, crazed and hopeless as I did then either.

So I've been seriously thinking about how to change an ongoing problem that I've had for several years now - my body seems actually resistent to losing weight. I don't want to be Skinny Minnie or anything. But with my small body frame, at 156 lbs. I am way too heavy and am worried about health repercussions such as diabetes, heart disease etc.

Some people at my WW meetings and at work are able to lose weight just by cutting out back on their desserts, or alcohol - or choosing a chicken breast instead of a Big Mac, or even changing from a large latte with whipped cream to skim milk in their coffee. But with me, I made those lifestyle changes a long time ago. I drink my coffee black. I don't drink alcohol at all. I very seldom eat desert - that's not even an option most of the time. I don't eat junk food or keep it around the house. I drink a LOT of water every day (64 ounces minimum and usually 80). For breakfast, I usually have an egg with a fruit such as oranges or else I eat oatmeal with nothing on it. For lunch, it's almost always a salad with fat free dressing or that spritzer dressing - and no I don't put croutons or any of that junk on it. Dinner is with my family, and I eat that late (at around 7:00 p.m.) because of my weird work shift. That's where sometimes I overeat - if I'm overly hungry. Even that, I don't go hog wild. For tonight's dinner, I already have a lean cut of roast in the crock pot with some veggies cut up simmering and waiting for a quick, relatively healthy dinner. I don't have late night bowls of ice cream or anything like that.

Yet I'm still fat. Way too damned fat. It's making me mad. Each decade, I see my weight rising by 10 pounds. It used to be my all-time high was in the high 140's, but now it's creeping into the high 150's. On a 5'3" woman with small bones, that's too much. I need to cut stop this weight creep and smash it in its tracks.

I know that carbs are a big part of my problem. Eating them really packs on the pounds. In the year 2000, when I turned 40, I dedicated myself to the Somersizing (low carb) way of eating. I was able to go from the mid 140's down to 123 pounds by sticking to a low-carb diet. I kept the weight off for nearly a year that way, but I couldn't seem to permanently cut carbs out of my diet, so I eventually stopped doing the low-carb plan and gained all my weight back. Now the pounds are creeping even higher and it's depressing.

What can I do? I have read every diet plan out there, and tried several, trying desperately to find something that is workable and actually helps me lose. I am thinking that the one that may be the most workable for me is WW Core Plan. I went to a meeting with my favorite WW leader last Saturday, and I'm really inspired by her.

This week, I've had a bad week already - a few disturbing personal problems going on that are largely out of my control. But I am determined that one thing I CAN control is my weight.

I think that when I did the Somersizing that worked for me, I really BELIEVED in it and believed I could lose weight with it. So largely, what's behind a major life change is a change in my belief system. Part of it may be the program too, but largely it's believing and visualizing myself permanently thin again. Not skinny, but healthy.

One habit I know needs changing is that we have established a bad habit of eating out a lot at restaurants for dinner. We're tired, we're hungry, so we go out. That's bad because restaurant food is packed with calories, fat, carbs etc. Even though I eat half portions, it's still not good for me physically or financially.

I want to be attractive in middle age and beyond. Since we live a long time in my family, it's important for my overall health and well-being, both mentally and physically, that I achieve and hold a healthy weight.

Unlike others, losing 2 lbs a week isn't very realistic or doable. When I go to WW and hear that people have lost 5 lbs in a week, it's just frigg'n disheartening to me. So this week, I made myself a new weight loss chart, where my goal is to lose 1 pound a week, and I've even allowed for some weeks not losing anything. I want to set reasonable goals and achieve them.

So my new thrust is to change my mindset. And to exercise. I'm going to go do my treadmill right now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day everyone! This is the lovely bouquet I came home to on Friday night after work. My daughter had not only bought me roses, but made a lovely note to go with it. Very sweet. Started the weekend off right.

We tried to take a little weekend trip to the Ozarks but it didn't work out real well. It started off with us leaving the house and driving an hour before realizing my husband had left his wallet. Had to go all the way back and start over. I mentioned then, "Hey, maybe this is an omen and we shouldn't go." But no, we went.

Nothing horrible happened, it just was kind of a "clunker" weekend - one where we just want to endure it and get back home. We would have had a lot more fun at home, frankly.

The weather was horrible - cold soaking rain, high wind and tornado watches the whole time. Just 55 miles or so southwest of us, there were tornados and baseball size hail. Jeez! The heavy storm cells went further south and didn't affect us directly, except just knowing they were anywhere in the state had me scared after our brush with the funnel cloud a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I feel so sorry for all the people who who lost lives and homes in any of these storms. It's just awful. The midwest and south have just been plagued with bad weather all spring.

Anyway, since we couldn't do anything really FUN on the trip, we stayed inside, ate at some good restaurants and Mom (me) knitted. I made some pretty good progress on the vest I'm working on, Talia. I'm up to the waistband now, which isn't bad for a slow knitter.

Here's the vest as it stands now.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mother and my Grandmother. Sorry I fell down on the gift giving this year, but I dearly love you both. Thanks for always being there for me and for being great role models.

I'm going to go unpack now. Going on a BAD weekend trip sure makes you doubly glad to be home. We'll look back on this weekend trip and laugh . . .really, we will.

Friday, May 09, 2008

6 Quirky Things - Revised

My friend Phyllis had a "tagged you're it" thing on her blog where she listed 6 quirky things about herself. Here are a few of my own quirks .

Note: After doing this the first time, Elysbeth didn't think they were quirky enough so I revised the list of weird.

1. I read anywhere and everywhere, and my daughter once swears she saw me reading a book while driving - but that's not true. I'd been reading at a stoplight and just was holding the book over the steering wheel until the next light.

2. I love ghosts, haunted houses, things that go bump in the night, and am used to work (briefly) at a funeral home.

3. I am left hand and write sideways, as well as being able to read upside down.

4. I walk fast and eat fast and talk fast, but do everything else slowly. Read slow. Knit slow. Accomplish tasks slow and methodically. Then doublecheck my work.

5. Drink my coffee black if it's morning or mid-day in late evening, I'll drink a dessert coffee instead and put in sweetner and cream.

6. I prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor rather than in a chair if given a choice - so long as I'm not wearing a dress.

Now what are YOUR quirks, tag if you want to be "it."

Talia Progress

Talia - here is where I am at. 5 inches into it - just past the lacy hip scallops. The pink line in it is my lifeline. Always do one of those.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Six Quirky Things About Me

My friend Phyllis had a "tagged you're it" thing on her blog where she listed 6 quirky things about herself. Here are a few of my own quirks (several of hers I share by the way, but I'm not going to copy).

1. I love movies. Really adore them. And I waste money on a lot of impulse buying (or ah hem, I USED to waste money before getting on the Dave Ramsey kick last weekend). But I have this weird thing that I will hardly EVER spend money on a first-run movie. Instead I go to the dollar movie and wait until it's WAY past blockbuster status before I go, because I just can't see waiting $8 or $10 bucks per ticket. With three of us, that really adds up.

2. I have this thing where I HATE euphemisms and "nice" ways of whitewashing over reality with slick phrases. My pet peeve among them right now is "issue." I HATE the word "issue." Either something is a PROBLEM that needs solving, or it isn't. Everyone in corporate land at every office I've been in has "issues" and I want to just slap them every time they say it. Maybe I have "issues" but that's one of my quirks. Often these "issues" are real NON-issues just to make work for themselves and to make the biggest lazy asses in the company APPEAR to be doing something. If you're allergic to real work, don't waste my time.

3. I like seminars, classes, workshops and lectures. Call me weird, but the nerd in me really ENJOYS these and I have actually paid for and attended them on days off. Weird, I know. I also listen to books on tape whenever I'm in the car rather than turning on music. I love to learn.

4. In tandem with No. 3, I am a closet philosopher, psychologist and naval gazer. I love to badger people with questions about what they think, what they believe and why. People are extremely interesting to me - and I seldom meet anyone I don't like in some way. The only people I really don't like are ones that seem fake or extremely arrogant. Even those people, I want to mentally access and figure out how they got to me that way.

5. Though for the most part, I'm an extreme extrovert, there's a part of me that just wants to be left alone. I'm a loner at heart, and being alone feeds my soul. Like on break at work, I sit at a table by myself and want to just read, think, eat, knit or vegetate. My favorite thing in the world is to have an entire day off in the house by myself and not talk to ANYONE - just do my own thing. I especially love people who are cranky, curmudgeonly, onery, or old. Those are the honest ones, and have much to teach. They are the wizened souls.

6. Though I've always longed to play the piano and learn a foreign language, I never did either one -or at least very well (I've dabbled). I secretly think that people who speak multiple language or play multiple instruments are brilliant.

Now what are YOUR quirks, tag if you want to be "it."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

This I Believe

One of my favorite segments on NPR is "This I Believe." For months, I've been contemplating what I would say if challenged to present what I believe. Aftering thinking about it long and hard, I couldn't possibly express what I believe in one succinct essay like the presenters do on the show.

One thing becomes clear, though I used to be a young idealist, as I grow into middle age, I am finally becoming comfortable enough in my own skin to acknowledge that things are NOT as clear-cut and black and white as I once believed. So I can't make a single all-encompassing statement about what I believe, and honestly, you may wonder why I express these thoughts at all. It's not to try to change yours or anyone else's mind, it's because by expressing some of what I believe, I hope to challenge YOU to think about what you believe deep down.

My beliefs/ideas about life will be expressed in brief snippets over the coming weeks/months. Here's what rises immediately in my mind today:

Ask for what you want. Really. Practice confidence. Granted, you MAY get your request turned down, but even then, it's okay, you asked. You definitely won't get what you want if you don't ask. Time and time again, I see people get positions, opportunities, and THINGS in general. Why? Not necessarily because they are the best qualified or most deserving, but simply because they made it known what they wanted. If you express your goals, dreams, and desires, you may not always get it, but you're more likey to.

Ask yourself frequently, "Is __________ (fill in the blank) working for me?" So often we stay in habits and patterns that are fruitless and aren't getting us anywhere. Change something up and you may see improvement.

Question everything. It doesn't mean you have to be a total rebel - it's just downright healthy to question authority, question the news (especially now with all the new orgs being owned by a few corporate giants). Most of all, question your own beliefs and ways of seeing and doing things. It keeps your mind agile and makes you a more well-rounded person.

It's really not personal. Many things that happen to us seem personal, but all so often, they really aren't. People are doing the best they can, and sometimes they hurt us. Even if the intent was to hurt, what they say or do says more about them than yourself. The hurt is OUR decision.

Hope you enjoyed these snippets. And even if you don't, it won't hurt my feelings (see number 4 above).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Has Dave Ramsey Been Frowning at My Yarn Stash?

Is anyone else, besides Phyllis, familiar with Dave Ramsey? Well, I went to the seminar yesterday with Bob. It was a 5-hour live seminar on his Total Money Makeover. Kansas City turned out a HUGE crowd of nearly 12,000 attendees. HE said that his largest live crowd so far. A lot of folks in Kansas City must be at least wanting to get out of debt. How many will actually DO it is far less. We are such an in debt society that owing your soul to the company store, in a matter of speaking, feels like NORMAL instead of the insanity it really is.

Seeing him live was amazing. He is SO dynamic. He makes you really get MAD about owing money and not having a retirement plan. He has a good point that your loan holders really are your taskmasters.

There are several Financial Peace University classes going on around the area in the next few weeks. Even though I work a weird shift, I am going to see if we can attend one of those. I think doing the hands-on 13 week course would make me more accountable, just like going to Weight Watchers helps in my weight loss efforts.

He was talking about the 7 Baby Steps to getting yourself financially afloat. I've been checking his books out of the library and listening to his books on tape and radio programs for a couple of years now. Going to the seminar renewed my determination to climb out of the debt hole.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a good hard look at many of my spending habits. One hole in my budget is definitely food - eating out WAY too often and that hurts my weight loss plan also. Another way I overspend is with my yarn purchases. And so, I'm officially, starting today, on a serious YARN DIET. I can't buy more yarn, knitting books, knitting needles . . . anything knitting related for a while. I really DO have enough of everything I need knitting-wise to last a good long time.

My theme for this year is "Awareness" and as such, I'm becoming acutely aware of things that are NOT working in my life and financial fitness is definitely one area that needs signficant improvement. It ties in, very closely, with physical fitness, and I'm not sure why, other than the fact that in both areas, I'm using money/food to make me feel better - emotional crutches that are costing me way too much.

Ironically, when I woke up today and discovered today's Daily Word - is "Divine Order." I realized that is exactly what I need to do - get my life in Divine Order. Things feel really out out of whack right now, and achieving Divine Order is going to take a lot of planning, and sticking with the plan requires putting a reign on the childish, "I want it and I want it NOW" mentality that both overeating and overspending spring from.

I started the day by cancelling an order I had started to place for more shawl yarn. Don't need it. Now I'm off to go cut up veggies and plan our meals for the next week. Here's to establishing Divine Order.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Talia Knitalong

Have you seen the Spring 2008 Knitty magazine that was posted about a month ago? I fell in love with a vest pattern called Talia. I'm also a co-moderator over on the "Got Vests" forum at Ravelry. If you have any interest at all in joining me for a KAL, starting anytime from now until about a month from now, feel free to join me, either formally over on Ravelry, or informally.

Since I knit on several projects at once, this won't be a speed racer knitalong, but rather a slow and easy one. You don't even have to knit a Talia if you don't like it. Pick your own favorite vest pattern and "go for it."

For vests, I have several on my knitting queue. I like them because they are faster and cheaper to knit than sweaters, they don't have sleeves (hate knitting sleeves). Plus, they tend to cover up some middle-age figure flaws. You can wear them year round with different tops and blouses underneath.

With this particular vest, I can see myself wearing it to work with slacks and a blouse; on weekends with jeans and a t-shirt, or going out with my husband in the evening, over a skirt. Very versatile.

Anyone care to join me? Kay is making one from her wonderful Dome Hill worsted yarn in caramel latte.

I cast on last night. It' such a yummy project.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I Thought I Saw A Funnel Cloud . . . No I KNOW I Saw a Funnel

I don't have a photo of it - not from a camera, but in my mind, it's there. Picture this: we were driving my daughter and her boyfriend back from the shopping center to his home to drop him off after 9:00 p.m. when the mall closed.

It was storming. Bad. We knew that earlier in the day, there had been tornado watches in the Greater Kansas City area. Suddenly as we neared his home, it got very dark (and it was already dark) but big rippling lightening shot across the sky. His Mother called, and said, "Get home quick, there is a tornado warning - a funnel spotted at 150 highway."

My husband is NEVER afraid of storms. He said, "Don't worry, that's not headed in our direction." Mere minutes later, when we reached Lake Jacomo spillway at Colburn Road, we stopped at a stoplight, some lightening lit up the entire sky and I saw it - a big funnel cloud - and it was WIDE. It wasn't touching the ground, was about halfway down from the sky toward the ground but it was big, dark and backlit from the lightening, and being directly in front of us, was one of the single scariest moments of my life. Bobby turned to me, touched my knee, and said, "This isn't good."

"You saw it, didn't you?" I whispered, not wanting to frighten Emily, still sitting in the back seat. He shook his head "yes." A few seconds later, when the sky lit up again and hail started coming down, we both agreed it was definitely . . . a big frigg'n funnel cloud.

We were right at the spillway, and torrents of rain were pounding down so hard we couldn't see. I said my prayers.

I honestly didn't think we'd make it home. If that thing had pulled down from the sky, it would have been bad. Nowhere to pull over, no bridge or underpass, and we were in a low area where water collects. Shit.

We are fine, we made it home, and I honestly don't know and don't CARE if there's hail damage on my car or not. I'm just glad we're home and safe. Whew! It happened nearly two hours ago, but I'm still freaked out.

I know what a damned funnel looks like. I spent every summer in southeastern Kansas where many tornadoes came by. I also lived through a really bad storm where 2 trees went through the first house I rented as a 21 year old girl. But this was scarier. Everyone I loved was in the car.

Whew. That's all I can say. Thank you. We're fine.